On October 5, 2019, Stanley Michael Bemben, Ph.D., P.E., loving husband and father of three, passed away, just 4 days after his eighty-fifth birthday.
Stan was born in Hadley, Massachusetts, to Michael and Lottie (Lipski) Bemben. The first in his family to attend college, he graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he majored in Civil engineering and played on the varsity Soccer team. Recipient of two Ford Foundation Fellowship Awards, he continued his education at the University of Illinois and received his Ph.D. from Cornell University.
In the late fifties, he traveled to British Columbia to work on the Terzaghi Dam. At the Vancouver engineering firm, he was working with, he met Brenda McGee. They married in 1959 and almost sixty years of adventures together began, including parenting three children.
Stan's career chose him. He said that at a young age, he knew he could build things and that he "could do it better than others." It certainly was true that no one could build a better mortar-less stone wall than he. Walls, dams, high-rises, and other structures across New England and indeed across the world benefited from his analyses. A gifted teacher, for 27 years he educated scores of students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on the intricacies of such matters as Connecticut Valley Varved Clay and the postglacial sand he dubbed BBY (Bemben Back Yard). He authored many technical papers and served as consultant to private clients and engineering firms. He also worked at times for the government, including assignments during the Cold War at home and abroad. He was awarded the Benjamin Wright Award from the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers for Outstanding Practice and Significant Contributions to the Civil Engineering Profession.
Stan was passionate about his career but also about life. He traveled to all continents. He rooted for the Red Sox, the Patriots and the UConn women's basketball team. Once, at a mall opening in Hadley, Mass he lost a fierce game of Ping-Pong to tennis legend Bobby Riggs. Stan and Brenda lovingly restored their almost century-old home and he enjoyed maintaining the home and gardens and keeping the local wild birds and critters fed. Sharp-witted, he loved to laugh and one-up everyone on puns. He dearly loved his cats and his five o'clock wine.
In his later days, Stan often reflected on his life well lived and humble Polish-immigrant roots; he expressed his pride in the successful enterprises of his wife, a lawyer, and his children and grandchildren. 'Our family's story is the American Dream," he said.
Preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Bertha Bemben and Frances Burzynski, he is survived by his wife Brenda; children Laura McCloskey, Catherine Mallette and Michael C. Bemben; grandchildren Jack Newton, Hadley Newton, and Zachary Bemben; and sisters, Marie Zorek, Elizabeth Beeke, and Joan Bemben.
A memorial service will be held at a future time. Donations in his memory may be made to the friends of the New Britain Public Library, 20 High St., New Britain CT 06051
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stanley Michael Bemben, please visit our floral store.